Stokes: What is Your Revenue Plan?

Dec. 21, 2022

What have we forecasted for the year that will take our shops to the next level?

If you don't make revenue plans for your shop, somebody else will—be it a more aggressive shop down the street or a dealership.   

Start your plans by deciding on a revenue goal. You need to pick that number and base it on the car count you believe you'll be generating, plus your average ticket. The simple way to view this is to take your car count from last January to December—and what you've seen that increase to be—and apply that same increase if you don't think anything has changed inside of your business. Then you'll want to take the internals of how your business is working and apply them to the average ticket. So, if you're doing a better job of making sure your technicians are quoting everything on the cars, a better job of selling the quotes whenever they hit the front counter and a better job of taking care of customers and calling them back. Your average ticket will continue to increase. The basics are what makes money.   

Once you understand what it's going to take to make money the right way, in a simple way, then it boils down to: Are you doing the right things at the right time? And a lot of people do the right things at the wrong time. For example, let’s say you want to grow next year, so you increase your marketing. Well, are your technicians maxed out? Yeah, they are. Well, that's not going to work, is it? If you want to grow next year, add another technician, and then get back to your marketing plan. So, doing the right thing at the right time is what will get the business going. But if you do the right thing at the wrong time, it's going to fail, and then you're going to blame coaches, your friends and the market saying, 'Well, it didn't work. I did everything they said and still didn't work.' Well, how did you do it? How did you apply it? If you didn't apply it correctly, it's not going to work.   

I believe a lot of owners haven't taken the time to slow down and apply strategy to their plans. Now, I'm not a big believer in budgets, I prefer forecasting. I don't like using yesterday's wisdom for today's decisions. I like instead to use today's wisdom on today's decisions and then use what I've learned from the past to plan the future. That is one of the biggest things that has made me successful. So, once you've predicted what you are going to hit, ask yourself if you’re happy with it. If it's not where you want to be, then you need to rethink it. A lot of people get hung up on what they did last year that they only grow 5-10% a year when they could have massive increases through better planning remembering that one small adjustment could unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. Remember, either your shop is in your plans or someone else's plan! So, what's your plan/ goal/ forecast? Better get after it before someone else does! 

About the Author

Aaron Stokes

A nearly 20-year veteran of the automotive repair industry, Aaron Stokes grew his business, AutoFix, from a one-car garage to a six-shop operation that is widely regarded as one of the top repair businesses in the country. Stokes, the founder of Shop Fix Academy, is an operational guru with a unique business and leadership philosophy that has led his business to great heights.

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